Volatile Organic Compounds: Some Pose Health Risks
Numerous laboratory processes require the use of chemicals: the cleaning or rinsing of equipment with solvents
and resin use for gluing processes, formaldehyde
use, general chemistry (such as titration reactions
), medical and pharmaceutical applications, plastic melting and bonding, acid etching, water testing and analysis, and several other processes that produce volatile organic compounds.
Many of the volatile organic compounds that are released in laboratory processes carry health risks. Several attributes categorize the level of risk, including the type of chemical, amount of exposure, surface area, and length of exposure time.
Symptoms That Some People Experience from Exposure to VOC’s [source: epa.gov]
- Eye Irritation
- Respiratory Tract Irritation
- Visual Disorders
- Memory Impairment
- Loss of Coordination
- Damage to Liver, Kidney, and Central Nervous System
- Allergic Skin Reaction
- Some organics can cause cancer in animals
- Some organics are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans
OSHA’s Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories Standard [1910.1450]
This standard by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) applies to employers who are engaged in the laboratory use of hazardous chemicals.
Section 1910.1450(e)(3)(viii) of this standard discusses “provisions for additional employee protection for work with particularly hazardous substances.” OSHA explains that “these include ‘select carcinogens,’ reproductive toxins and substances which have a high degree of acute toxicity. Specific consideration shall be given to the following provisions which shall be included where appropriate:”
One of these provisions is the “use of containment devices such as fume hoods or glove boxes.” [source: osha.gov]
If your Chemical Hygiene Plan calls for this kind of protection, you may want to consider the following option for your laboratory:
Mobile Laboratory with Heavy-Duty Chemical Fume Extractor [240 lbs. of Activated Carbon] and Ducted Laboratory Exhaust Hoods
|Laboratory Chemical Fume Control Solution: Model 500 Heavy-Duty Chemical Fume
Extractor hard-ducted* to two Sentry Air Systems Exhaust Hoods
This conceptual mobile laboratory for chemical fume extraction is based around the Model 500 Heavy-Duty Chemical Fume Extractor
. This base unit is equipped with 240 lbs. of Activated Carbon
[4 individual 60 lb. filters]: a significant amount compared to standard chemical fume hoods on the market. With this amount of filtration media and air volume of up to 1100 CFM
, this fume extractor can be hard-ducted to easily supply negative air pressure and filtration for two Sentry Air Exhaust Hoods for multiple operator use (up to four exhaust hoods could potentially be connected depending on the sizes needed and the applications being performed). Sentry Air offers a variety of standard Exhaust Hood sizes
that are compatible with this configuration [from 12″ Wide to 70″ Wide, plus custom options
No Exterior Ducting: It’s a Mobile Solution
This conceptual configuration has a recirculating air pattern. Once chemical fumes are extracted from the exhaust hoods and directed into the filter housing, filtered air is released back into the room. With this design, heated and cooled air is recirculated within the room, so costly make-up air (typically a huge expense for laboratories
) is not needed.
Unlike exterior-ducting systems, which may require costly fees if relocation were necessary, this configuration can be moved fairly easily. Once the ducting is separated from the base unit and hoods, the base unit (Model 500) can simply be rolled to a new location on its heavy-duty casters. Sentry Air Systems Exhaust Hoods are designed with hinged, folding side panels, so it can be deconstructed with minimal effort and moved to a new location.
*Ducting is not provided by Sentry Air Systems for this configuration.
Sentry Air Systems’ Chemical Engineers and third-party industrial hygienists have performed multiple chemical efficiency tests to assess Sentry Air Systems filter and unit performance against a variety of standard chemicals. You can find these reports on the Data Page of the Sentry Air Systems website.
For more information on the mobile chemical fume control solution explained above, Sentry Air’s line of standard Chemical Fume Hoods
, or additional air purification solutions for your laboratory, give us a call at 1.800.799.4609
, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
, or fill out this simple online form
to receive additional information from a Sentry Air Systems Applications Specialist.